Archive for the ‘ What Is Your Mission? ’ Category

Improving Mission Effectivness for 2011

As executives we face a myriad of daily challenges. Everything from dealing with individual client issues, staffing challenges, donor communications, media inquiries, to running board and committee meetings, etc clamor for our time. If we are not careful we will miss doing what only you and I as executives can do for the organization; maintaining focus on the mission. As management guru Peter Drucker says, “Every non-profit institution exists for the sake of performance in changing people and society. But how often do we make decisions about what we do from day to day based on the medical clinic or pregnancy center’s performance?

Drucker goes on to say, “The most important task of an organization’s leader is to anticipate crisis.” He says this for several reasons. First, a crisis is always looming on the horizon. To think otherwise is unwise. We may not be able to avoid it but at least we can anticipate it. Anticipation allows for better preparation. Our organizations can never be fully prepared which is why leadership amidst the crisis is so critical. Second anticipating a crisis forces innovation or what is often called continuous improvement. We begin to ask ourselves, “How can we keep accomplishing our mission in a down economy?” or “How can we continue to provide the same services under greater governmental restriction?” It forces us to work ‘on’ the ministry rather than working ‘in’ it. It forces us to empower others to do the tasks that others can do so that we can focus on what no one else can do for the organization. Third, anticipation provides the necessary courage for us to make the hard choices of trimming the services that are not getting the results we need to get for the mission while at the same time providing clarity to communicate rationale to the organization’s constituents why certain decisions have to be made.

Of course, to effectively anticipate a crisis so as to avoid it or weather it one must be the steward of a mission that is laser focused. Without a laser focused mission it becomes virtually impossible to anticipate crisis. One might even be tempted to say, “Only God knows the future!” and go on doing the 501 piranha school of tasks nibbling for your time. This is the path toward organizational mission drift and in the end will result in a museum of service rather than a mechanism for service. But a very focused mission such as to reach and serve women at risk for abortion and help them have their babies raises the executives vision high enough to see the challenges over the horizon.

Mission Focus Gets Results

So, to improve Pregnancy Center mission effectiveness in 2011 one must begin by reviewing the organization’s mission statement for clarity and focus. Then review all the activities of the organization to see if they immediately apply or are if they are helpful but non-essential to the mission. Finally, begin to think through a plan to improve either first by focusing the mission or asking questions of the organization to understand if it can get better at reaching more abortion-minded women and serving them in a way that more effectively helps them have their babies.

Remember executives are obsessed with results. If the organization is not getting the results it should something must change and that’s why you are there.

For more information go to prcoptimizationtool.com.

Legal Do’s and Don’ts for Pregnancy Centers and Other Non-Profits

Many Executives and leaders of non-profits like pregnancy centers do not engage in political issues during the election season for fear of the negative impact it might have on their non-profit status. The attorney Barry Bostrom and his legal firm Bopp, Coleson, & Bostrom have put together a list of activities that we as non-profit organizations can and cannot do. Most pregnancy centers are registered as 501 (c) (3) organizations under the IRS tax code and as such have legal rights to engage in certain kinds of activities to not only protect their organizations but also to further the cause of community change for which their organization exists. To download this very helpful document click the following link:

Political Do’s and Don’ts during Election Season

Some examples of things you can and cannot do as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit pregnancy center are:

(1) Discuss the positions of political candidates on issues: Yes

(2) Endorsement of political candidates: No

(3) Financial contributions to political candidates: No

(4) In-kind Contributions to political candidates: No

(5) Independent expenditures in favor of or against political candidates: No

(6) Fundraising projects for political candidates: No

(7) Contributions to PAC’s: No

(8) Electioneering Communications regarding Federal candidates: Yes

(9) Expenditures related to state referendums: Yes

(12) Appearance of political candidate at meeting: Yes

(14) Voting records Yes

More Abortion-minded Women: Making Your Dream a Reality

An issue came up in a Pregnancy Center Leadership discussion group recently that we as executives think about all the time: “How can we reach more pregnant women truly at risk for abortion?” and its sister question, “How can we serve those women in a way that more consistently helps them have their babies?” The particular conversation centered around an executive of a Pregnancy Center in a Midwestern college town feeling like they are not reaching enough abortion-minded women compared to the number of abortions taking place there.

“What exactly leads you to conclude that you actually have a problem?” I asked. “You have made some logical assumptions but your logic is hidden to the rest of us. I am sure you have already figured this out but it would be helpful for the rest of us to get a really good handle on how you arrived at your concern and more importantly what to do about it. Would you be willing to be a little case study for us by answering the following questions for us to chew on? I believe the old adage is true: What gets measured gets fixed. Perhaps we can analyze this as a group of PRC executives in an effort to not only help you but help each other.

1. How many abortions occur in your area annually? 1000

2. How many abortion providers are in your county? 3

3. What is the primary ethnic, age and educational demographic of those women getting abortions? 18-24 Caucasian with 13 years of completed education (sophomore in college)

4. How many appointments did your organization schedule in 2009? 250

5. How many pregnancy tests were performed in 2009? 125

6. How many of those pregnancy tests were positive? 75

7. How many of those positive test patients did you consider to be ‘at risk for an abortion?’ 60

8. How many pregnant, at risk clients can you serve this year? Maybe 460

9. How many of the pregnant at risk patients received an ultrasound their fist visit? 45

10. How many of those said that they were going to continue the pregnancy at the end of their initial appointment? 38

The dream of this executive is to reach 460 pregnant women seriously considering abortion this year. Her initial impression was that all she needed to do was increase her advertising budget. Based on the information she provided if she wanted to reach all 460 women seriously considering abortion in her area using the organization’s current client trends and percentages she would need to filter through 12,000 client appoints per year!

We have found this scenario to represent the typical pregnancy center. What about your pregnancy center? This executive thought that the answer to her low client volume was more advertising. But there is a deeper issue at play. More advertising will only result in more of the same. The approach the center is taking in order to serve the right women in the right way needs  to be streamlined so they can accomplish their goal. (See Case Study of Omaha, NE Pregnancy Center) Otherwise they will be spending precious resources on women who are either not pregnant or not really at risk for abortion. The solution to this service problem lies at the philosophy of ministry that has been adopted. This pregnancy center while using an ultrasound machine is still in the old paradigm of pregnancy center ministry CompassCare coined the Global Service Model or Client-centered approach. In order for them to reach their goal of serving 460 pregnant at risk women they will need to adopt a new paradigm of ministry CompassCare coined the Linear Service Model (LSM).

For information about how to create a linear service model (LSM) to reach and effectively serve abortion-minded women go to prcoptimizationtool.com.

Mission Statements . . . Be Careful, There’s a Catch.

Recently I responded to a question about developing a new mission statement by an executive director in upstate New York on www.PCCTalk.org. Below is my response to that question with some modifications.
A mission statement is 1 of 5 primary elements in a strategic plan. Drafting a good mission statement is a two step process; 1) determine your primary objective and 2) Draft the statement.
1. Determine Primary Objective:  It requires that your organization have a good grasp on a single, and highly focused objective for which it is extremely passionate. A good formula for understanding that primary objective is the following:  That which you are passionate about+That for which you have the unique skills to be the best in the world+Resources to support it (See Jim Collins’ “Good to Great and the Social Sectors”).
2. Draft the Statement:  Once you have a clear understanding of your primary objective you are in a good position to draft a mission statement.  The mission statement should be succinct, memorable and have the following elements: Who is performing the mission, what  will be done, how it will be done, and for whom.  For example CompassCare’s local center mission statement is “CompassCare (who) is dedicated to empowering women and men (for whom) to erase the need for abortion (what) by transforming fear into confidence (how).”
If you would like more information CompassCare’s Optimzation Training you can check out the training page on this blog or go to our new training website at www.compasscaretraining.org.

However, creating a mission statement is fraught with communication challenges and if done well will require clearly defining what is meant by the mission by identifying what will be measured to help reveal whether the organization is actually accomplishing the mission; this process is called identifying core measures. This aspect of organizational management in my experience has proven to be the most divisive. A mission statement by its nature does not tell you if you are being effective at accomplishing the mission. Core measures do. So when you create a new mission statement understand that your board, your staff, your volunteers, your donors, etc will interpret this new statement differently . . . they will interpret the new mission statement in the light of their understanding of your CURRENT mission statement. Determining the 10 or 12 key things you want to measure that tell you if you are accomplishing your mission will clarify what is actually meant by the mission. This is where everyone’s personal assumptions about what it is you do and why you do it will be revealed. However, until you get to the point of defining what you will be measuring there will be widespread misunderstanding. I have attached a sample metrics spreadsheet that all the CompassCare OT centers use to help the Executives keep their finger on the pulse of organizational performance around their mission. Modifying your mission statement can have dramatic benefits as well as major pitfalls. Managing the transition will be crucial for a change that actually benefits the organization. Rule of thumb: Over-communicate to everyone.

PRC Vulnerabilities: Lack of Accountability and Mission Focus

Have you ever felt out of control not knowing what your counselors are saying in the counseling room or on the helpline?  Do your nurses feel insecure regarding what is being said or not said by the counselors?  What you may be experiencing is a lack of organizational accountability.  And often a lack of accountability can be traced back to a lack of mission focus.  Listen to Jim Harden as he trains other PRC executives regarding these two common pitfalls.

What about sharing the gospel?

Recently there has been a great deal of debate over what the exact role of the medical pregnancy resource center is when it comes to the Great Commission.  Many official statements have been made from National figures and organizations in the movement and many local medical PRCs have debated internally regarding the overall focus of the organization on the the formulaic sharing of the gospel message with patients.  Should it be articulated in the mission statement that organizations ‘share the gospel’ as a primary reason for existence?  There are many positions on this very crucial issue most of which most have been formulated by lawyers or laypeople who are theologically untrained.  What exactly is the Great Commission and what should its role be in the medical PRC?  Listen as Rev. James Harden, M.Div, theologically trained at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, IL discusses the theological context of the Great Commission and what that then means for us as Executives and the organizations we run.  Click the following link to listen in…